Note: We've linked each title to its Amazon page so you may read other's reviews. These books are also available at the public libraries and great local bookstores such as Blue Willow Bookshop and Katy Budget Books.
A memoir is very similar to an autobiography. The difference is that an autobiography covers the person’s entire life while a memoir focuses on an experience or certain time period. It can be about a public or private event that the author attempts to recreate as accurately as possible. Often a memoir will show how the author was affected by the experience and if a lesson was learned. Obviously, it will be told from the first person point of view.
One of the most famous memoirs is NIGHT by Elie Wiesel. It tells of his experience in Auschwitz during the Holocaust. Here are some are some current memoirs that I’ve read and really enjoyed.
POPULAR: VINTAGE WISDOM FOR A MODERN GEEK by Maya Van Wagenen – Maya shares her yearlong social experiment in a diary format. She explains that before starting eighth grade her parents gave her an old copy of Betty Cornell’s Teen Guide to Popularity and with some prodding from her mother she decided to follow the advice for one year. This advice is from the 1950’s when Betty was a teenage model. You will laugh along as Maya wears her pearls and Vaseline while trying to break out of what she calls the “social outcast group” that she belongs to.
I WILL ALWAYS WRITE BACK: HOW ONE LETTER CHANGED TWO LIVES by Caitlin Alifirenka – Caitlin was in seventh grade when she was given a school assignment where she had to write to a pen pal in another country. Caitlin was paired with fourteen year old Martin who lived in Zimbabwe. This assignment sparked a six year correspondence which allowed them to become very good friends. Their story is told through alternating points of view. Readers can see how Caitlin realized there was a world bigger than the one she lived in and not everyone lived like she did. Martin learned to open up and trust Caitlin and share the world he lived in.
THE BOY ON THE WOODEN BOX by Lee Leyson – Lee tells how the impossible became possible. He was ten years old when the Nazis invaded Poland. His family was forced to move from their home to a ghetto in Krakow and thanks to Okscar Shindler Lee was saved from the concentration camps. Lee was able to work in Shindler’s factory. He was one of the youngest workers and the only child survivor to write a memoir.
I find memoirs exciting to read. I enjoy learning about other people and their experiences. I hope that you try one but I’m going to leave you a title that’s not a memoir. This is one of those books that kidnapped me. I was unable to do anything until I finished the book and by the time I finished it, I was blubbering like a baby. The story stayed with me and made me think about many things. I hope you like this one as much as I do.
ELSEWHERE – by Gabrielle Zevin – Liz is a fifteen year old who has such a bright future to look forward to. She can’t wait to get her driver’s license, experience “true love” and go off to college. Liz’s dreams are cut short when she is killed by a hit and run driver. After the accident Liz travels on the SS Nile to Elsewhere. A place similar but different than Earth. She meets her grandmother for the first time and learns about life in Elsewhere. People in Elsewhere age backwards until they are babies who return to Earth.
I’ve enjoyed spending my summer with you! I hope everyone has a great school year! Be sure to stop by your school’s library and check out what’s new!